Can Dirk Koetter Fix Fourth-Quarter Blues?

July 14th, 2015

KoetterThe Buccaneers gagged away leads last season left and right. Bucs officials publicly cite those close games and fourth-quarter leads as reasons for optimism. (Really, they do.)

So Joe decided to play stat geek and look at how new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter fared in the fourth quarter last year.

Sadly, Joe learned that fourth-quarter blues really torpedoed Koetter and the mighty Falcons offense in 2014.

On opening day, the Falcons lost a fourth-quarter lead to the Saints on opening day, but Atlanta rallied to tie and then win in overtime. Hooray for Koetter!

But in Weeks 4 and 5, the Falcons blew fourth-quarter leads (Vikings and Giants) and were held scoreless in the final 15 minutes. They also were shutout in the fourth quarter in Week 6 (Bears), lost 29-7 to the Ravens in Week 7, and blew a 21-point lead against Detroit in Week 8. In that game, the Falcons were blanked in the second half.

Things got a lot better for Koetter and the Falcons offense after that, except for not showing up with the season on the line in Week 17, a 34-3 loss to Carolina.

There was a big discussion yesterday on offensive coordinators and head coaches choking away fourth-quarter leads on SiriusXM NFL Radio yesterday. Former NFL QB Jim Miller and ex-coach and Jets personnel executive Pat Kirwan dove into what made Bill Cowher so amazing in putting teams away, and they discussed how so many offensive coordinators play scared with a late lead.

Joe doesn’t know what to make of Lovie and Koetter in that area. Both struggled last season, but have had success in other seasons.

What Joe does know is Matt Ryan is not on the Bucs roster. One of seven rookie QBs to lead his team to the playoffs this century, Ryan has been compared to Jameis Winston, so perhaps Koetter will find a rhythm with Jameis quickly.

21 Responses to “Can Dirk Koetter Fix Fourth-Quarter Blues?”

  1. Buc-A-New Says:

    No offense to Jameis but I believe Koetter was the best addition to our team.

  2. Another J Says:

    Dirk Koetter has a winning track record…
    It’s the offensive line that should have us concerned!

  3. Captain Buc Says:

    It all depends if we get our running game going. That my friend will dictate how the team is coached in the fourth quarter.

  4. James Walker Says:

    Obviously Koetter is an improvement over not having an offensive coordinator.

  5. Mike10 Says:

    Best fourth quarter offense is an offense in the first 3 Quarters

  6. unbelievable Says:

    The Falcons offense became too reliant on screen passes and quick slant routes, so defenses were adjusting by pressing every guy at the line and looking for the short / quick pass. As much as Koetter’s scheme uses 3 or 4 vertical routes down the field at times, he also uses A TON of screen plays.

    That’s what happened in that Carolina game. That’s what happened to them in the playoffs the year before. Same thing Seattle did to Denver in the Super Bowl too.

    It’s like anything else in this league, if you become predictable, sooner or later opponents figure it out and you better have something else up your sleeve.

  7. Buccfan37 Says:

    Koetter and the Falcons fourth quarter blues improved in the later season games, as Joe mentions, minus the beat down by Carolina which showed who was the best team in the division. Buc fans might expect a similar outcome this year with a new team and rookie QB taking the field, a slow learning start and improvement as the progression moves forward. Carolina is the favorite to win the division again, imo.

  8. WS99 Says:

    So Joe decided to play stat geek and look at how new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter fared in the fourth quarter last year.

    Sadly, Joe learned that fourth-quarter blues really torpedoed Koetter and the mighty Falcons offense in 2014.
    Yes, I know the feeling. I’m not as optimistic as Buc (shocker I know). Is he better than Arroyo? Absolutely, is he good enough to beat Rivera’s defense? I’m not convinced he can, the more data you pull the more you realize this guy isn’t as great as many make him out to be. But what do I know….

  9. DamnImFameis Says:

    gotta believe that the Falcons D had lots to do with the teams demise last year…

  10. Hugh Januts Says:

    I wouldn’t get too excited about Koetter, his offense is a predictable array of bubble screens , slants …. he also has a horrible red zone offense. As a Falcon fan for 40 years I could not wait to see him gone. He also had a horrible offense in Jacksonville as well. I do not know why anyone thinks this guy is a top OC , he has never had a good record anywhere……good luck

  11. Danati74 Says:

    Man, Im still happy about the Koetter signing. I mean he’s the best OC i’ve seen us sign since becoming a fan back in 90. I mean can anyone tell me a better one? I saw what he did with Atlanta, then I picture the offense we have now and at least be optimistic and happy to watch Buc ball again.

  12. WS99 Says:

    Mike Sullivan in my humble opinion.

  13. unbelievable Says:

    When you consistently fail to build depth through the draft, it becomes hard to sustain any effective type of offense.

    The best we’ve had as a franchise was w/ Free in 2010 and 2012. And that offense in 2012 wasn’t very complicated or clever to begin with- it was figured out halfway through the season, and was completely inept beyond that point.

    Personally, I think this current team has the more weapons at WR and TE than any other in the past. Our QB will have growing pains for sure, but at least has the *potential* to be great in a few years. I’m not concerned with our RBs, just the o-line. It will all come down to the o-line. O-line! O-line! O-line!

    And this goes back to the failure to build any depth through years and years of drafts. If 2 or 3 of the 4 lineman we have drafted in the last 2 years turn out to be solid, then we would actually be in amazing shape. Is that likely? No. But, my fingers are crossed, go bucs!

  14. The original "Kevin" Says:

    At unbelievable,

    The falcons scored points consistently last year. Yes they run a lot of screens but I would not say they were unpredictable. Hell the falcons oline was just as bad if not worse than ours and he still produced on offense. I think Matt Ryan is an above average qb and id say winston will be at worst. I also think we have better weapons than atl does overall on offense.

    Atlantas problem was theyre defense was always horrible. It kept them from winning close games. Thats why smith got fired and we got lucky with koetter.

    Hes the most important coach on the team right now…

  15. loser/winston Says:

    hey hugh that’s why idiot lovie wanted him so he could blame someone else for sucking.

  16. The original "Kevin" Says:


  17. Danati74 Says:

    @WS99. Cant be a response to my question. Sully was only OC for one year, and couldn’t get another coaching gig. He tried to be a HC in NFL and interviewed with The Bears. No go. Also tried to be HC of his Alma Matter Army. No go. Sully is back with The Giants. Not sure if he is OC or QB coach, but didn’t do much with Bucs.

  18. The original "Kevin" Says:

    Hugh Dirk Kotter never had a good defense in either city to help his offense win any games.

    His offense always produced in Atl and who did he have to work with in Jax???

    Matter of fact marcedes lewis was a pretty relevant reciever during those years. Along with MJD. All with below average talent around them

    With our weapons Im glad they got Koetter

  19. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Really Hugh, your QB had his best 3 years under said OC but you happy he gone and here visiting the site of team he landed with. Yea I got cha. A loser your screen name says it all,theirs a reason you place a slash between it and WINSton. You realize he’s far from one smart guy.

  20. Pawel Says:

    I want the OC who gave Josh Freeman 4k season.

  21. Owlykat Says:

    Danati47, you are correct since 90, but if you look further back when we won our first playoff game in history, beating a much superior Eagles Team–believe it or not we had a young brilliant OC named Joe Gibbs who went on to win two Superbowls for the Redskins as their HC and now runs a NASCAR Team which he owns! I was at that playoff win in the old Sombrero and was dazzled how Gibbs developed a new offensive scheme rolling Williams out of the pocket and beating those very well coached Eagles who didn’t know what hit them. Now that was a GREAT OC!!!